John Terry has made a remarkable u-turn after Sunday’s shocking press conference which threatened to blow the England camp wide open.
Terry, who spoke of being denied a beer after his side’s appalling 0-0 draw against Algeria on Friday, has come under pressure from colleagues and fans for what he calls his “attempt at honesty”.
Stripped of the captaincy over a relationship with former team-mate Wayne Bridge’s partner just three months ago, Terry attempted to raise his concerns over selection and morale at Sunday night’s emergency team meeting.
But on finding he had little support from his fellow senior professionals, yesterday he saw fit to confide in the Daily Mail’s Matt Lawton in a last-ditch effort to defuse tension before tomorrow’s win-or-bust clash against Slovenia in Port Elizabeth.
Terry insists: “It was never my intention to upset the manager or the players. If I did, I apologise. I just wanted to be honest. I was asked a question about Joe Cole and I went too far.”
Like many others, Terry believes his Chelsea team-mate Cole should start on the left of midfield. But after telling the world only Wayne Rooney and Cole were capable of cutting open defences, Capello blasted his former captain yesterday for speaking out.
Terry added: “I have told the manager he has my total support and I would like to stress that I don’t believe I have been a disruptive influence in the camp.
“I would now like to put this episode behind me and concentrate on trying to win what is a massive game for England. All I was trying to do was to say how important it is to me to try to win the World Cup.”
Terry’s volte face is remarkable. On Sunday it appeared he was ready to lead a France-style player revolt, along the lines of the Bobby Robson mutiny at Italia 90. But yesterday he told Lawton: “I just hope people at least appreciate that I have taken the time to call you and have asked you to report what I have to say in response.”
Neal Collins is in South Africa to complain about England's performance and promote his first novel A GAME APART. See www.nealcollins.co.uk.
To see Neal at the National Arts Festival on July 4, go to http://www.computicket.com/web/event/neal_collins_a_game_apart/148367625.